A recent conversation with an old friend left me with a new question. “What do you have planned for retirement?” His background is in sales, insurances and whatnot in the financial field and as friendships go…networking happens because we all have bills to pay and our work becomes much of a portion of our lives. But in all honesty after catching him up on over a decade of my life it wasn’t a bad question to ponder. I am a writer, working towards being a full time writer without a day job or with one in the field of the arts that likely doesn’t hold much promise for a retirement package . Right now I can barely think past today. I am in-between still much needed day jobs and I am struggling with not wanting to take a just pay the bills job but wanting something that will fulfill me. I am also working hard on that full time or even, just the keeping up, writers gig. Thinking about a month from now is just paying rent and getting my next project off the ground, much less thinking off thirty years from now…other than my dreams of writing and travels. That I think about plenty. But what about if I fall ill, with cancer or even too arthritic to type my stories? Or what about living far past my sixties? And the costs that I have seen come with being old…medicines not even for cancer or diabetes or blood pressures but just to wake you up everyday (One of the people I worked for was in this way…I had asked what all his pills where for and he stated “Just to live each day. It is just a part of being old. It’s what you have to look forward to.” Not any were for a disease. Even in decent health the older we are the more help along we need. Housing. Hadn’t thought of that. I dream of owning and having paid off my own home with all of my earnings from sales of novels…but…it is yet the reality and even then there are still insurances and taxes and utilities to pay. Even upkeep and maintenance and yard work. What if I need to hire help? To do my groceries and get around? What if I was ever to end up wheelchair-bound? I hope that my body never fails me in such a way after years of doing what I can to give it it’s best with no drinking or smoking, healthy diet and working out. But not too long ago I sat in a doctors waiting room and around me was the evidence of just how much a body can turn on you in older age. I know plenty decades older than me who can still dance me off the floor but it’s no guarantee how my own will handle…or…what of my mind? My great grandmother’s mind failed her in the end. My grandfather’s lent to cancer and my grandmother to osteoporosis and heart attacks.
I also plan on spending a ton of money on my travels and lord knows the cost these days of flying home with a case load of books. Money doesn’t grow on tree’s but I sure do know how to spend it on a book or a lovely meal or traveling the world. It will be done…I won’t scrape and save just to sit and wait for death one day.
So not a bad question at all to ponder as asked on my thirty-fourth birthday.
It’s like the DMV or the doctor’s appointments…we don’t want to have to deal with it but we do have to eventually. The question must be answered. Putting it off until it’s too late won’t help even in my world of procrastination.
So let the researching begin.
Step 1. “How to retire as a writer?” is going into google.
Let’s start there and we shall see where this question does end up taking me. However , for my fellow young writers out there. I will share my research path and findings in future postings.